OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.

Congress Loudmouth Jayanthi Natarajan claims that Pratibha Patil was in no way connected with the loan secured by the co-operative but some digging by Offstumped reveals that Pratibha Patil as Lok Sabha M.P. actively lobbied for such funding of Sugar Co-Operatives by District Banks.

Responding to the allegations against Pratibha Patil’s brother, Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said “certain people who were not able to find a proper candidate to match the stature of our candidate are attempting to find allegations against her”. “Pratibha Patil does not have any connection with these allegations,” she said. The NDA and the UNPA have reacted sharply to the exclusive report aired by CNN-IBN on a loan default case and want UPA Presidential nominee Pratibha Patil to explain the allegations. Documents available with CNN-IBN indicate a sugar factory, of which she is the founder president, has been declared a defaulter for failing to pay off a bank loan amounting to Rs 17.5 crores. The Sant Mukthai Factory in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district has been served several notices according to CNN-IBN.

With news media reports turning up the heat on Pratibha Patil’s record outside of political office, Offstumped comments on the Teflon skinned politicians of our times who neither suffer taint nor shame from defaulting on loans. 

The facts in the current allegation against Pratibha Patil and her come from, one media outlet, CNN-IBN which has carried photocopies of documents from the Mumbai District Cooperative Bank.

The loans were taken in 1994. Bank officials say the loan has not been repaid despite repeated reminders.  Pratibha quit the Sant Mukthai Cooperative Sugar Factory in 1996, but her brother G N Patil continues to be the president of the cooperative in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district.Bank president Siddharth Kamble stoutly denied that the notice was aimed at embarrassing Patil, pointing out that it was sent early this month before Congress president Sonia Gandhi announced Patil’s candidature. Bank officials claimed that Nabard had directed all cooperative banks in the state to recover bad debts, earlier declared as non-performing assets. 

According to the Times of India,

as many as 22 sugar co-operatives owe the bank a total of Rs 266 cr. Of them 15, all owned and managed by prominent Maharashtra politicians, have received notices. The rest are expected to get notices shortly. The list includes factories controlled by politicians like Union minister Suryakanta Patil, Mukul Wasnik and Shalini Patil. 

The Times of India also reports that

in 1994-’95, the bank gave loans to 22 sugar co-operatives to help them set up units in the state. The Shri Sant Muktabai factory which Patil set up in Jalgaon was one of the beneficiaries. Patil got Rs 5 crore in her capacity as chairperson of the factory. Accumulated interest and non-repayment has ballooned to an outstanding of Rs 17.70 crore. 


While the Bank is not making a personal case against Pratibha Patil since it was the state government which provided the necessary guarantees to secure the loan, the underlying ethics of borrowing other people’s money, in this case public money, remain. 

 Here comes the rub. It must be noted that during the time Pratibha Patil was the founder President of the co-operative she also served as a Lok Sabha MP. Congress Loudmouth Jayanthi Natarajan claims that Pratibha Patil was in no way connected with the loan secured by the bank but some digging by Offstumped reveals that Pratibha Patil as Lok Sabha M.P. actively lobbied for such funding of Sugar Co-Operatives by District Banks.

On 29th August 1991 participating in the Lok Sabha Debate on the Demand for Grants by the Ministry of Agriculture Ministry of Food and Ministry of Rural Development Pratibha Patil called for

Regarding finance, the primary societies provide it and the District Cooperative Bank is the district agency through which it is provided….I do not know about other States but I can tell you about Maharashtra that this Bank can provide much more finance than what it is doing today…..So far as providing financing facilities to the rural areas, particularly for agriculture, are concerned, we have many Urban Cooperative Bank in our State. I can tell you about Maharashtra where the Urban Cooperative Banks and credit societies have funds which they can provide to the rural areas for improving the production of our country, but there are constraints. They cannot give those funds to the rural areas because the Reserve Bank does not permit it ….We can ask the Reserve bank to allow these Urban Cooperative Banks to provide finance for agriculture proper

Pratibha Patil further lobbied on this subject during the debate on the Annual Budget for the year 1993-1994. In this debate she gets very specific about the financial needs of Sugar Co-operatives making no mention that she herself runs one.

 the sugar production is 60 per cent in the cooperative field in our country. I know what are the problems faced by the sugar industry in our country…..you will have to give institutional finance to the new sugar factories which are at a stands till for the last three years…..The other day we had a meeting. They say that for about 60 or 70 sugar factories, the institutional finance will be needed about Rs 2000 crores.

She then goes on to lobby for Co-operative Banks to be given funds to be loaned to sugar factories.

 Cooperative credit institutions continue to suffer on account of non-release of funds due to them under the agricultural rural debt relief scheme.

Then comes the other interesting revelation

I happened to be a Director of the National Federation of Organized cooperative banks and credit societies

Offstumped Bottomline: While the Congress and Jayanthi Natarajan can skid the uncomfortable questions from the media the following facts remain that at the same time

Pratibha Patil the Lok Sabha MP lobbied in the Lok Sabha for Pratibha Patil the Director of Co-Operative Banks to allow Co-Operative Banks to loan money to Sugar Factories run by Pratibha Patil’s Sugar Co-Operative.

With her finger prints all over the issue of Co-Operative Banks funding Sugar Co-operatives there is no way Pratibha Patil can skirt the ethics questions here. The taint and shame of defaulting apart, the above conflicts of interests are a good reason for Members of Parliament to be disbarred from holding Offices of Profit.

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